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The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service is now accepting applications for the second class of its Executive Master of Public Service degree program.
“We are excited to build on the success of our first EMPS class that enrolled in March,“ Dean James L. “Skip” Rutherford said. “This program is designed for working professionals and we look forward to watching it grow and expand.”
The first-of-its-kind EMPS is offered entirely online, giving mid-career professionals the enhanced knowledge, skills, and network needed to advance their careers without relocating or disrupting their personal lives.
Grounded in critical analysis and the formulation of program and policy options, the EMPS teaches students to build stronger communities by understanding, engaging, and transforming complex systems to ensure equity and create positive social change.
The ideal EMPS candidate is a mid-career professional who has demonstrated leadership in his or her career and in his or her personal pursuit of public service and is someone with a strong academic background.
For more information on the program, or to schedule a phone call with the Clinton School admissions team, click here.
Clinton School student Rebecca Webber (Little Rock, Ark.) is currently in Migori, Kenya, for her International Public Service Project with Kenya Relief, where she is working conjunction with the Kenya Relief staff to implement a new medical records system and create an evaluation plan which will serve as the foundation for a monitoring and evaluation program for a new clinic. Below is a reflection, written by Webber, of her early weeks in Kenya.
To catch you up on what is going on, let me start from the beginning.
My husband, Todd, and I met Michael and Sandy Boultinghouse last summer at our church. As we got to know the Boultinghouses better, they shared with us that they had been doing mission work with an organization called Kenya Relief and were planning to take their longest trip yet. They were leaving to spend a year in Migori, Kenya, to help the organization start a self-sustaining farm. They left the US last October and have been in Kenya building a house and cultivating the farm ever since.
Over the course of the last two semesters as a student at the Clinton School, I was able to keep in touch with the Boultinghouses and hear about all of the things that are happening in Migori through the people there. The more I heard from Sandy about Kenya Relief, the more I knew that this was the organization I wanted to work with for my International Public Service Project.
Kenya Relief is an organization that is made up of a school, an orphanage, and a clinic which are all located on the same plot of land in Migori. The orphanage is home to about a hundred children while the school serves five hundred children from all around Migori. The clinic is unique in the area, as it focuses on providing surgical care through several mission teams of doctors, nurses, and surgeons who come for two-week periods to provide safe and affordable surgeries. It is common for people to walk or bike for as many as five hours to the clinic for surgical care they would not otherwise be able to receive.
Through several emails and phone meetings, Steve James, the founder of Kenya Relief, and I designed a project around the implementation of an electronic medical records system at the clinic. The system will allow Kenya Relief to track its service, provide annual reports to stakeholders, and eventually conduct an evaluation of its program to statistically prove the impact on the health of the community.
The first two weeks I spent in Migori were filled with learning new phrases in Luo and Swahili, meeting new people, and trying new things. My very favorite thing about Kenya so far has been the people. Every person I meet says “Mzungu! Hujambo!” (White person! Hello!) and immediately follows that phrase with some variation of “Karibu!” (Welcome!). Many others ask about how “Uncle Obama” is doing (fun fact: President Obama’s ancestors were from the Luo tribe in Kenya and they are very proud of that here in Migori).
Kenyan people greet visitors in their country the way people in the United States might greet family members at Christmas. This experience has already given me a new perspective of what it is like to be in a new place, learning all new ways of doing things. I hope to remember this experience the next time I encounter someone who is visiting the United States.
I think the overarching theme for me so far is how much there is to learn from this place and the people in it. This year, my classmates and I spent a lot of time discussing countries in the global South and their developmental, social, and economic statuses resulting from the processes of colonization and decolonization. In fact, I focused many of my own papers on Kenya because I knew that I would be traveling here this summer to complete my project.
In the beginning, my goal was to learn how to help the people of Kenya. I thought that if I learned why the country was in its current state, I would be able to meet Kenyans where they are, with where they have been in mind, so that I could make their lives better in some way.
However, through the processes of study at the Clinton School, I learned that not only is that particular mindset fairly common for my background, it is destructive at best. Wanting to be of help is not a bad thing, nor do I believe that my heart was necessarily in the wrong place. But your heart can be in the right place even as you cause someone harm.
You see, the point is not that Kenya and its people need my plans. Kenya is the way that it is because so many visitors came here with a plan already in mind. What Kenya needs is listeners and learners with resources. For this reason, I have made it my goal to ask good questions and listen well while I am here.
From your friendly, neighborhood Mzungu,
Rebecca Bryan Webber
Through her role as a McLarty Scholar, University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service graduate Mollie Henager has piloted a social network analysis of Vital Voices’ Economic Empowerment and Entrepreneurship program, VV GROW.
VV GROW is a business accelerator that empowers women entrepreneurs across the world to amplify their role as leaders in their businesses and their communities to create jobs, stimulate long-term economic growth and produce wider social benefits.
Making new business connections is a vital part of VV GROW, as it is a vital part of being a business owner. Henager has used social network analysis to measure the strength of new business connections formed through VV GROW and their impact on business growth.
“Henager has contributed to the overall efforts of Vital Voices to map out the networks we build. Her analysis will serve as a reference for future VV GROW networks, and her recommendations will inform upcoming social network analyses of other Vital Voices programs,” said Alejandra Garcia, Vital Voices’ Director of Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning.
Vital Voices Global Partnership is a non-governmental organization that was established in 1997 with the purpose of investing in women leaders worldwide. Vital Voices implements several programs that seek to empower visionary, innovative women who are committed to improving society. While formal skills training is an essential element of these programs, network-building is one of the most valuable opportunities program fellows receive. In order to measure and visualize the Vital Voices network, several of the organization’s programs have begun piloting social network analyses.
Henager completed her analysis and presented findings to Vital Voices staff in May 2018, completing her required fieldwork with the Clinton School. Henager looks forward to maintaining her connection with VV and the McLarty Scholars network.
About Vital Voices Global Partnership
In 1997, Vital Voices was founded on the belief that women are essential to making progress in their communities. Through their participation in VV programs, women have more opportunity and greater agency to defend political freedoms, strengthen laws, and create jobs.
For more information, visit VitalVoices.org.
The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service’s renowned Speaker Series hosts about 100 programs per year that are free and open to the public. This series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.
The Speaker Series features a diverse array of programs ranging from senators, congressman, cabinet officials, and ambassadors to renowned academics, corporate CEOs, philanthropists, authors, and journalists.
Guests of the series include 47 ambassadors, 23 Pulitzer Prize winners, 12 heads of state, and seven Nobel Prize winners.
Highlights from the 2017-18 year include Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, European Union Ambassador to the United States David O’Sullivan, and the Children of the Little Rock Nine as part of the 60th anniversary of the integration of Little Rock Central High School.
The series began in 2004 when Senator Bob Dole of Kansas delivered the inaugural lecture at the request of his former Senate colleague and Clinton School founding dean David Pryor. In 2006, when Skip Rutherford became dean, he expanded the program based on what he had seen while visiting Harvard University.
“I saw so many opportunities for Harvard students to connect with leading academics, newsmakers, and world leaders and I wanted our students to have similar experiences,” Rutherford said. “Nikolai DiPippa has taken the series to an exceptional level. In addition to making programs free for the public, Nikolai does a masterful job connecting our students with the speakers.”
Since then, the Speaker Series has grown to include speakers across all spectrums of politics, news, literary interests, and current events. Senator John McCain, former United States Attorney General Eric Holder, and former Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove are just a few of the political names to appear over the years. Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, Jesse Jackson, and George Stephanopoulos are some other notables of the speaker series.
In its 13-year history, the speaker series has hosted nearly 1,300 programs and welcomed more than 200,000 attendees. More than 500,000 people from over 200 countries have viewed the series online.
Clinton School students also benefit from participating in the school’s Speaker Series, which gives students unprecedented access to leaders in government, politics, business, foreign policy, journalism, and philanthropy addressing issues in public service.
“The Speaker Series has definitely been a highlight of my Clinton School experience,” said Christine McCall, Clinton School student from Chicago, Ill. “The public programs are hosted in an intimate setting that provides students and the general public with a space to connect with the speakers. I have been fortunate to introduce a couple of the speakers and get to know them on a more personal level. In return, they have taken the time to speak with me and assist with professional development.”
“The speakers are of high-caliber and represent various industries including journalism, non-profit, community development, government, and the arts, among others,” McCall continued. “There is truly something for everyone and I hope people will take advantage of this valuable program in Little Rock.”
With the launch of the Clinton School’s new online degree, the Executive Master of Public Service, the Speaker Series is used to complement course lessons.
“Recordings from the speakers series were an integral part of the EMPS Foundations class,” said Associate Dean Susan Hoffpauir. “They provided real-world examples of the course content and increased students’ knowledge of how public service is practiced across the globe.”
To watch past speaker series events, visit ClintonSchoolSpeakers.com.
Anna Applebaum (Class 9) has been accepted to the New York University School of Law. Applebaum is a McLarty Scholar and was a Hillary Rodham Clinton fellow at the Georgetown Institute For Women Peace and Security.
Ashley Bachelder (Class 6) will enter the Ph.D. program in Community Research and Action at Vanderbilt University this fall.
Fernando Cutz (Class 6) has been named Acting Deputy Chief of Staff for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Cutz joined USAID in 2012 and spent all of 2017 and part of 2018 working with the National Security Council at the White House.
Mahmoud Mahmoud (Class 5) is running as an Independent in New Jersey’s 8th Congressional District’s November election.
Rina Meutia (Class 2) accepted a new position as a Disaster Risk Management Specialist with the World Bank in Washington D.C. Meutia is working on projects in the South Asia Region.
Josh Stokes (Class 4), a Special Agent with the U.S. State Department-Diplomatic Security Service, will become an Assistant Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, in August.
Sylvia Tran (Class 9) has accepted a new position as Unit Director with the Boys and Girls Club in Bentonville, Ark.
Kristen Alexander (Class 11) and Ben Pope celebrated the birth of their daughter, Zinnia Alexander Pope.
John Delurey (Class 8) married Megan Odenthal on June 8 in Stuart, Fla.
James Mitchell (Class 3), who works as a Program Associate at Winrock International, married Molly Fincher on June 23 in Searcy, Ark.
Rebecca Morrison (Class 5) and Ben Kaufman (Class 5) first met at the Clinton School. The two are now married, living in northwest Arkansas, and new parents of twins, Louise Tydings and Elizabeth Brennan.
Nathan Watson (Class 10) married Anna Clark on June 9 on Packard Point Ranch outside of Fort Smith, Ark.
Executive Master of Public Service student Renee Tyler has been selected to participate in the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) reciprocal professional exchange program as part of Professional Fellows Programs. The program will send Tyler to Thailand for two weeks in September, offering opportunities for educational exchanges between United States and Southeast Asian leaders.
Tyler has worked as the Assistant Public Works Director for the City of Dubuque, Iowa, since 2016. Previously, she worked for the City of Little Rock as a Parts and Special Projects Manager for Fleet Acquisition.
Since 2010, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) has managed Professional Fellows Programs, funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).
The overall goal of the program is to create a global network of emerging local government leaders to positively impact practices at their organizations and in their communities by enriching their leadership skills and cultural understanding and by providing opportunities for knowledge exchange and ongoing collaboration.
The program has brought professionals from Asian/Pacific countries to the United States for visits that include Fellowships in local governments. Staff from the host jurisdictions then have an opportunity for a return visit to their Fellow’s Asian/Pacific country.
These reciprocal exchanges have expanded their horizons and reinforced the value of global knowledge sharing.
Tyler is one of 34 students enrolled in the Clinton School’s first-of-its-kind EMPS degree program. The new two-year program is offered entirely online, giving professionals the enhanced knowledge, skills, and network, they need to advance without relocating or giving up their current employment.
Dr. Nichola Driver and Dr. Robert C. Richards, Jr. have been announced as assistant professors at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. The official start date for both is July 1.
“Dr. Driver and Dr. Richards are great additions to the Clinton School,” Associate Dean Susan Hoffpauir said. “In addition to teaching, Dr. Driver served as the director of Nonprofit Leadership Studies at UA Little Rock. Dr. Richards has taught in the Department of Communication at Penn State University since 2015 and was the recipient of the Carroll C. Arnold Award for Scholarly Excellence. Additionally, both have an impressive number of publications for their early-stage careers – Dr. Driver in the areas of sociology and health and Dr. Richards in the areas of deliberation and communication.”
Most recently, Driver served as a visiting assistant professor at UA Little Rock in the School of Public Affairs where she led the Nonprofit Leadership Studies program. She oversaw service learning projects, internships, and taught courses in program evaluation, health policy, and nonprofit leadership and service.
She will teach Field Research Methods and Program Evaluation at the Clinton School of Public Service.
Her research areas include reproductive health disparities, health policy, and program evaluation and methods. She is currently working on projects related to attitudes toward teen pregnancy, both nationally and in Arkansas, breastfeeding rates among Hispanic immigrants, maternal mental health, and creating healthy communities in Mexico through participatory action.
Driver holds a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in public administration from UA Little Rock.
Richards was most recently a postdoctoral teaching fellow in the Penn State University Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. His research interests are democratic deliberation, participatory governance, and political and legal communication and information.
He will teach Communication Processes and Social (Ex)Change at the Clinton School of Public Service.
Richards has taught undergraduate courses in legal rhetoric, speech communication, and group communication. He conducts research as part of the Participedia Project – an international research project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada – which studies how citizens participate in governance in many different countries, and the research team that studies the Citizens’ Initiative Review method of citizen deliberation.
He has co-authored articles in numerous academic journals, including “Making Policy Information Relevant to Citizens: A Model of Deliberative Mini-Publics, Applied to the Citizens’ Initiative Review” in Policy & Politics, and “Embracing Digital Democracy: A Call for Building an Online Civic Commons” with John Gastil in PS: Political Science & Politics.
He has presented papers at the annual conferences of the National Communication Association and the Law and Society Association.
Richards received his Ph.D. from Penn State in 2016 and his juris doctor from the University of Virginia School of Law in 2006.
Clinton School assistant professor Dr. Ellen Fitzpatrick will be on unpaid leave from August 2018 to May 2019 while working as a scholar in residence with Merrimack College and Catholic Relief Services University.
Clinton School student Ravyn Towns (Memphis, Tenn.) is currently in Vancouver, British Columbia, for her International Public Service Project with Mothers Matter Centre, where she is collecting the stories of mothers detailing their experiences of familial and personal change they’ve experienced as a result of their participation in the program. She will systematize the findings from previous years and identify and publish findings on the emergent themes. Below is a reflection, written by Towns, of the first month of her IPSP.
This is the first time I’ve actually lived in a big city; Vancouver, British Columbia in Western Canada is now my home. There are certain adjustments that come with this lifestyle, and living abroad in general, including frequent use of public transportation even if you own a vehicle, staying focused and alert at all times, being resourceful, and constant prioritization.
My 4-10 minute drives to school, work, dinner, the gym, or church have been replaced with expensive commutes taking a taxi, riding the bus or SkyTrain, walking, and sometimes a combination of all four. Usually it takes 90 minutes or more to get to and from where I’m going. I enjoy walking; it helps me enjoy moments of solitude, I love the fresh air and eco-friendly environment (it’s so CLEAN here), and I’m exercising daily.
I work downtown near the Pacific Ocean so I’m able to enjoy good food, views, and vibes on a daily basis. Speaking of food, the summer climate is perfect for gardening. I frequent two of my supervisors’ homes and they both have thriving gardens in their backyards that I’ve had the pleasure of consuming for lunch and dinner. I feel so renewed and refreshed and with the hospitality remaining constant, I am living my very BEST life.
The population here is extremely diverse; I hear an array of languages and accents every minute of the day. In my office alone, I have been introduced to seven different cultures, British Columbia (the province) is huge, and their culture is more active and healthier. As much as I love the South, born and raised in Memphis, Tenn., our culture is more sedentary, slower paced, and we generally lean towards unhealthier eating options for various reasons. Although I don’t see myself turning my back on fried chicken, cornbread, or yams anytime soon, I am enjoying the abundance of organic and vegan options. A healthy lifestyle is legit the “norm” here.
Because I value education as a solid tool for communication and enjoy working with low-income populations and children, I decided to complete my International Public Service Project with the Mothers Matter Centre. This Vancouver-based nonprofit is a national consortium of organizations dedicated to serving socially isolated and low economic status mothers and their families using their proven mother-to-mother approach. The HIPPY program, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, remains the core of the center and it’s delivered to mothers and children in-home supporting parents as their child’s first and most important teachers.
As a multimedia journalist and communications consultant, I am journeying across Canada to more than 10 cities across five provinces interviewing HIPPY mothers and children collecting videography and photography to create their 20th anniversary celebration video that will be published in 2020. I am also working closely with the center’s communications department assisting with website development, social media, media relations, and publications. As an experienced journalist with a B.S. in Communication, I am thrilled to return to what I love MOST: collecting and analyzing qualitative data, connecting with diverse populations and experiencing different cultures, allowing others to share their stories, showcasing positive outcomes and sustainability, and being in the lab. What I loved most about news reporting was video production.
I traveled to Nanaimo, British Columbia this weekend to meet my first mom and child and my views from the seaplane there and the ferry back home were literally breathtaking. Along with the city’s beauty, what had me in awe the most was the amazing mother and daughter duo I had the pleasure of interviewing and their story of courage and determination. An immigrant from Central Asia’s Kazakhstan whose first language is Russian, Marina Filatova was able to find home with HIPPY in Canada. Now a married mother of 5, with Amina being child number 4, Filatova stated it wasn’t an easy settlement in the beginning but with the help of HIPPY, life started to improve in several ways.
What she enjoyed most about the program was learning with her daughter and the amount of quality time she was able to spend with Amina. “When you sit with your child and do different things and look at your child and see how happy she is, it brings you both so much joy,” said Filatova ecstatically. “Then, you see the output and how quickly she’s picking up things.”
Both Marina and Amina experienced an extreme impact from participating in the program. For Filatova, her circle of friends expanded and all of her friends are former HIPPY Moms. As her English strengthened her confidence grew and she was able to be a better leader for her children. She proudly shared that because of HIPPY she noticed that Amina was reading sooner than her classmates and writing well. Amina’s teacher noticed, too, and gifted her with a diary, which she uses on a regular basis. I was able to share moments with Amina as she wrote several entries showcasing her English and math skills. “Because of HIPPY, now I write a lot more,” said Amina with a smile.
With my project off to a phenomenal start, I am looking forward to more exploration and interviews; I truly enjoy hearing and sharing other’s stories. I will continue enjoying Canada and learning a thing or two for everyone I meet. No two days have been the same and that helps me to anticipate the next moment while appreciating the beauty in the unknown.
Until next time,
Clinton School student Christine McCall (Chicago, Ill.) is currently in Mwanza, Tanzania, for her International Public Service Project with Wesley College, where she will research best practices for servant leadership programs and develop a curriculum for Wesley’s Servant Leadership Center. Below is a reflection, written by McCall of her first two weeks. Follow her blog for written updates, photos, and videos from her time in Tanzania.
I am two weeks in and I still feel like I am living in a dream. I am amazed by Tanzania’s beauty and the overall hospitality. My first two weeks in Tanzania have been a whirlwind getting settled in; however, at the same time I feel like I have been here much longer than two weeks because the pace of life is much slower and simpler. Though I am experiencing a new continent, country, culture, and language, I feel a peacefulness here that I was not necessarily expecting. I am trying to figure out where that feeling is coming from and I cannot pinpoint that just yet. What I do know is that Wesley College is a special place. The teachers, faculty, and staff have been nothing short of welcoming and making me feel right at home from the very first day I arrived.
I am impressed with my host organization thus far and the way they have assisted in helping me get settled in these first two weeks. I arrived late on Saturday night, June 2 and Eric Soard and his wife Liz picked me up at the airport and invited me back to their house for a late dinner. The very next morning at 8 a.m., we were on our way to a church service at Wesley College. There is nothing like jumping right in. The service was primarily conducted in Swahili and some of it was translated for me. What struck me in this instance was that I did not really have to understand the language because I could feel what the words meant from the emotion in the room. I have never experienced anything like that before and it was a moment that I will remember for a long time.
Eric Soard is the Director of Wesley College and in the first few days we had an initial meeting to discuss whether his vision for the servant leadership training manual has changed since I agreed to the project. I was given an office to do my work and introduced to all the appropriate people at the school. Eric has additional plans to set me up with some community members for input about servant leadership. His vision for the servant leadership program is expansive and will be ongoing after this summer and adapted to fit the needs as time goes on and the college grows. Eric is very easy to talk to and open to ideas and discussion. I look forward to learning more about Wesley College, the students, teachers, staff, and Tanzania overall so that I am able to produce the best product possible for the students and future of the college.
One thing that I have been looking forward to every day is sitting in on and observing Mr. Baraka Kengwa’s Intensive English class. This class has anywhere from five to 10 students every day. Mr. Kengwa has welcomed me into his classroom and the students have been receptive to me and invited me to participate in some of their lessons. They have had some really great questions for me about America and my beliefs, some of which include: Are you a feminist and how do you define feminism? What do Americans know about the triangular slave trade? Do you believe in witchcraft? It is encouraging to see the students so enthusiastic, curious, and comfortable in asking these questions. There was one day Mr. Kengwa was absent and he asked me if I would mind visiting his class and just practicing English with his students. I was excited to step in and the students came up with discussion topics of what they want to be when they graduate from Wesley College and why they think more people in Tanzania should learn and speak English. We had a candid conversation and I can already tell that these students are motivated by the way they participate in class and by the questions they ask of the teacher.
I also recently sat in on Rev. Bonface Wanyama’s theology class. The topic of this class was the crusades and the students had some thought-provoking questions for the teacher. Among those questions was: What lessons can we learn from the crusades and apply in our lives today? Because my project is focused on developing a servant leadership training manual, I have found it necessary to observe the teachers and students in the classroom and how they interact. I am taking particular note of the teaching styles as well as the students that seem to be comfortable in leadership roles. I have really enjoyed sitting in on the classes because it is giving me a sense of where the students are at and where they want to go. Though I have not gotten too deep into my actual project yet, I believe that developing relationships and rapport with the students and teachers is of great importance and will only make the final deliverable that much stronger because they will be willing to help in the process.
As far as preparations go, I wish that I had known that the majority of people in Mwanza, Tanzania speak Swahili. Had I realized the extent to which Swahili is spoken in Mwanza, I would have made time to study Swahili in advance of arriving in country. I am grateful that the students and teachers I am working with at Wesley College are encouraging me to learn and speak Swahili and even taking time out of their schedules to help me with basic vocabulary. A number of the teachers and students have told me that I am a fast learner and are surprised by my ability to hear the word and then spell and speak it so easily. While they have been very complimentary, I suppose I am being hard on myself and do not necessarily feel that I am moving at a quick enough pace with language.
I was nervous walking to work by myself the first time, especially as it was only my third day in country and I did not know any Swahili. First things first is that I would like to report I did not get lost and remembered where to turn by landmarks I memorized the day before on my practice run with my host. One thing I noticed on that first walk by myself was that I was the only Caucasian person walking on the streets. Most of the locals went about their business, but there were some drivers that called out to give me a ride and then children that said “hello”. Because I am unfamiliar with the language, I did not know what to say to the drivers so I just smiled and politely shook my head that I did not need a ride. With the children I smiled, waved, and said hello back. In the days after that first walk, I have learned some greetings so I can now respond to those who speak to me on the streets.
I am looking forward to starting my interviews with the students and teachers as well as disseminating the student and teacher questionnaires in the next two weeks. I cannot believe that I am already into my third week. I know that as I get more comfortable here, the time is going to go by more quickly. I have been doing a lot of activities with Eric and his family in the first two weeks and I am looking forward to exploring Mwanza with some of the students and teachers in the coming weeks. I am doing my best to simply enjoy the moment and learn something from every interaction – whether that be with a student, teacher, local, at a restaurant, or walking to school in the mornings.